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Bollywood's Rules of Journalism

Last updated on: January 25, 2010 19:39 IST

Bollywood's Rules of Journalism

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Raja Sen in Mumbai

Welcome to Bollywood 101 where we're going to look at the warped lens through which the Hindi film industry pigeonholes our non-cinematic professions, glamming or uglying them up for the big screen.

Looking with mild trepidation towards Ram Gopal Varma's approaching Rann, here's our first set of rules -- to see how Bollywood shows journalists.

All TV journalists work for India TV

Sensationalism is the name of the game, really.

 

Bollywood, in a bid to paint the media unidimensionally as a headline-crazed mob, has pretty much every television journalist depicted as someone working for one of those Sansani-kind of shows, screaming headlines and painting politicians as evil men for missing their daughter's birthday.


Image: A scene from Rann

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Every female journalist is Lois Lane

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Not that there's anything wrong with Mrs Superman, but being a woman in the news business in Hindi cinema automatically qualifies you to be a constantly smug know-it-all who is gunning for a fictional Pulitzer Prize.

 

Like Sridevi in Mr India, they're all committed, fearless and will do anything to expose the truth -- even if it means an item-song or two.


Image: Sridevi in a scene from Mr India

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Editors are evil people

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This one isn't surprising at all, to be frank.

 

Writers hate editors, and screenwriters just transfer this traditional animosity to the screen. So it is that editors -- as we see in films as widespread as Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron and Main Azaad Hoon -- are grumps who scowl at fresh-faced young talents and will readily sell their souls for a headline.

 

That said, it isn't completely far from the truth.


Image: Boman Irani plays an editor in Page 3

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They find an astonishing amount of time to do their hair

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Not just do Indian reporters stray from the formalwear the profession's more established international exponents insist on, but the heat and dust in cities like Mumbai -- which is where most Bollywood journos are based -- mean that, while on duty, we're all mostly a bunch of sweat-stained, ill-dressed wrecks.

 

Our cinematic cousins, on the other hand, have Manish Malhotra and perfect hair, but -- just because they're journalists -- are given spectacles, apparently to appear smarter.


Image: Koel Puri in It's Breaking News

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Front page scoops come about by coincidence

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While it cannot be denied that once in a very blue moon, a newsbreak just drops into your lap and all you have to do is think up a clever headline and yell 'stop press' -- which only, only happens in the movies, really -- most of the time a massive story is broken by lots of legwork.

 

Bollywood of course believes in all moons being blue, and so chance -- and a quick, meaningless montage -- are enough to ensure tomorrow's banner headline.


Image: Preity Zinta in Lakshya

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